Civis Romanus Sum

(I am a Roman citizen)

As Paul stood bound and for the whip outstretched,
He said to the centurion beside,
“‘Tis lawful here for you to flog a wretch,
A Roman citizen and not yet tried?”

The mere centurion on hearing went
And to the tribune swiftly said, “Take heed!
What art thou ’bout to do? What foul intent!
This man, a Roman citizen, doth plead!”

Ere Rome’s decline, one treasure, civitas,
The whip could stay, all civil rights obtain,
And fill Paul’s captors with such grave distress
For having put a citizen in chains.

To reap respect, and envy, civil bloom,
One merely said, Civis Romanus sum.



Alex Rubstein is a grade 12 student homeschooled in Canton Aargau, Switzerland.

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to mbryant@classicalpoets.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.


8 Responses

  1. Anna J Arredondo

    Nicely done, Alex. I particularly like the rhyming of English with words of another language, as you’ve done twice in your sonnet.

  2. Tamara Beryl Latham

    Words of wisdom from Paul that saved him from an immediate lashing and
    poetic words from you, Alex, that force the reader to contemplate Paul’s
    genius and his specific knowledge of Roman law. Great poem. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.